Considering the presence and influence of educated women of letters in Spain and New Spain, this study looks at the life and work of early modern women who advocated by word or example for the education of women. The subjects of the book include not only such familiar figures as Sor Juana and Santa Teresa de JesÃºs, but also of less well known women of their time. The author uses primary documents, published works, artwork, and critical sources drawn from history, literature, theatre, philosophy, women's studies, education and science. Her analysis juxtaposes theories espoused by men and women of the period concerning the aptitude and appropriateness of educating women with the actual practices to be found in convents, schools, court, theaters and homes. What emerges is a fuller picture of women's learning in the early modern period.
'Howe's book makes a significant contribution to the study of women and culture in the early modern Hispanic world. In particular, her examination of women's access to education is a noteworthy addition to our understanding of their lives.' Elizabeth Lehfeldt, author of Religious Women in Golden Age Spain ’I recommend this study for its well-researched insight into what, until recently, was a largely unexplored area of study: the intellectual lives of Early Modern women in the Spanish-speaking world.’ Parergon ’By advancing our knowledge of women's education, Howe invites us to join her in the quest for female modes of learning and for diverse interpretations of literacy.’ Renaissance Quarterly